Advantages of Questionnaires
Questionnaires may be a “cost effective way” of obtaining data from a large audience; for example, from large numbers of population. Questionnaires need to be properly planned in order to get data of high quality that can be used for analysis.
Participants may not like to be identified for having taken part in research; therefore, questionnaires can be an effective tool to gather information from respondents, who do not like to be identified. Participants may be honesty when giving answers if they know that they would not be identified. Most respondents who take part in questionnaires would know what information is being asked about them.
Questionnaires can be designed to target a certain “audience even if they are geographically spread.” Depending on the design of questionnaires, the data collected may be either quantitative or qualitative. Quantitative data is in numerical form and can be used to find answers about a particular problem such as: customers’ perceptions about certain products, feelings about services being offered by “Call Centres”, and so on. Another good thing about questionnaires is that they “reduce bias.”
Effective questionnaires may be designed in such a way that the questions are “short and focussed” and have at least less than “12 words” (Marshall, 2004, p. 132).
Disadvantages of Questionnaires
There may be problems with questionnaires; for example, respondents may not understand the questions and therefore, give answers that, they may not have given if they had understood the question. The researcher may not know whether the questionnaire was completed by the targeted audience or not; for example, if the research is about “Goal-line Technology”, the respondent may not be a football fun and therefore, may give an answer which may not be given by a football fun.
Obtaining Quantitative data
Useful quantitative data may be obtained by sending or distributing questionnaires with closed questions that offer respondents choose answers but does not give them an alternative way of expressing their views in writing. A respondent would be offered to choose an answer from a given list of answers. For example, respondents may be asked how many times they have boarded a train to London in a period of 12 months. The answers may look like this; never, 1-5 times, not sure, and so on.
Obtaining Qualitative data
Qualitative data may be obtained by using open questions. The questions are designed in such a way that the respondents would put down their answers in words such as: their views, feelings, opinions, suggestions and so on; in response to a question being asked.
Marshall, G., in Radiography (2005) 11, 131e136:
The purpose, design and administration of a questionnaire for data collection. Retrieved November 17, 2010, from
Webb, J. (200). Questionnaires and their design: The Marketing Review, 2000, 1, 197-218. Retrieved November 17, 2010, from http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=15&hid=12&sid=54e1f2ea-7b1e-4449-bfd6-92512c1a6ac0%40sessionmgr14